Food Security

Supporting health and wellness for British Columbians

One in seven Canadians live in food insecure households. For families with children, that number is even higher. Through our Food Security Initiative, United Way British Columbia – working with communities in BC’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Central & Northern Vancouver Island is working to address British Columbia’s growing and shifting food needs.   

Our Regional Community Food Hubs are an innovative approach to food security. They allow community members access to food, food literacy and wellness programming, together with wrap-around services such as mental health support, employment services, childcare and others. These hubs also offer volunteer and engagement opportunities for community members. There are 16 hubs located in communities across BC. Find the one nearest you.

United Way British Columbia Food Infrastructure Grant

United Way British Columbia and the Ministry of Health are looking to collaborate with community food-based organizations to address the unique food access and availability challenges of rural, remote and Indigenous communities. This one-time Food Infrastructure Grant will fund the development, implementation, or improvement of food infrastructure to support year-round, long-term procurement, storage and distribution of fresh, traditional, and other food and enhance community well-being.

UPDATE: The Ministry of Health and United Way BC would like to announce that the funding amount for the Food Infrastructure Grant program has been increased to reflect recent and urgent needs in communities across the Province of British Columbia.

Communities experiencing urgent and immediate needs in regard to food infrastructure as a result of recent environmental catastrophes and changing climate such as wildfires, flooding or mudslides will be prioritized to receive grants with new funding.


  • This one-time funding grant is available to support year-round, long-term infrastructure to support sustainable food access solutions in remote, rural and Indigenous communities across BC. 

    To learn more about this funding and how to apply please watch our info session video:

    • $5,000-$20,000 can be applied for by a single applicant, OR  
    • $5,000- $30,000 can be applied for in a co-application between multiple groups.  
    • Reporting will include a Midterm Report and Final Summary Report. (details below) 

  • Applicants: 

    • Food Infrastructure Grants are available to any community food-based organization/group located in remote, rural and/or Indigenous communities providing food access programming and services.   
    • This includes 
    • All charitable organizations as well as other non-profit and grassroots organizations, 
    • BC First Nations Band or Tribal Council. 

     Application details should include: 

    • A new project or program 
    • An existing project or program that is expanding 
    • An existing project or program with funding expiring within the Food Infrastructure Grant timeframe which has clear deliverables, meets the criteria; and needs funding to continue. 

    Please note that United Way British Columbia will be seeking a geographic balance in how funds are invested.  

    • October 4th – December 15th, 2021: Applications are now closed 
    • January 28th, 2022: Applicants will receive a written notice on funding decisions.
    • February 28th, 2022: Letter of Agreement Signed.
    • March 31st, 2022:  Funding distributed to community food-based organizations.
    • TBA 2022: Final reports due by 11am. 

  • There will be two funding streams availableUnited Way British Columbia encourages each applicant to include projects that respond to their unique community need  

    A. Food Access Grant Stream

    Food Access
    Focus To procure, recover, transport, and/or store fresh and other foods.
    Examples of eligible capital expenses:
    • Transportation improvements (e.g. trucks, vans, cold containers, etc.)
    • Equipment to receive and store food (e.g. fridge, freezer, shelving, pallet jacks, carts, etc.)
    Examples of eligible operational expenses:
    • Diversifying food procurement (e.g. supporting relationships with agriculture, wholesale, and retail) 
    • Recovering fresh food that would otherwise be wasted from retailers, businesses, farms, small producers 

    B. Food Relocalization Grant Stream

    Food Relocalization
    Focus To grow, harvest, forage, procure and/or process local and traditional food.
    Examples of eligible capital expenses:
    • Solutions for sustainable growing (e.g. greenhouses, seed libraries, garden boxes, etc.)
    • Equipment to harvest, process and/or preserve food in traditional ways (e.g. smoking, canning, curing, etc.)
    Examples of eligible capital expenses:
    • Sharing knowledge about growing, harvesting or processing food (e.g. workshops, skill sharing, etc.)
    • Revitalizing traditional foodways and/or procuring traditional food locally or in partnership with other communities

    • Purchasing food for direct distribution   
    • Routine or ongoing operating costs (e.g. heating and lighting; security; telephone; internet)  
    • Planning or a community needs assessment 
    • Community Engagement resulting in the development of a community plan  
    • Community events where a profit is being made by the organization  
    • Projects that require adherence to a specific faith  
    • Projects with political activities  
    • Research projects 


    Required Applications include: 

    • Applicant registration 
    • Completed application form including details on project, project goals and impact on communities 
    • Completed Project Budget. If any additional funding for this project has been received, please include this information as well. 

    Application Review 

    All applications will be evaluated against the Food Infrastructure Grant objectives as outlined above. Priority will be given to applications with demonstrated community need and applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria: 

    • Demonstrated community need  
    • Geographic distribution across British Columbia 
    • Indigenous/remote/rural communities 
    • Anticipated outcome and impact on vulnerable populations 
    • Food Access/Food Relocalization objectives 

  • All applicants are responsible for submitting required reporting to United Way British Columbia. Reporting requirements will include the following:

    • One midterm check-in with United Way British Columbia staff informing us of:
      • Project progress
      • Any proposed adjustments to project activities, outcomes, or budget
      • Any challenges or delays in project deliverables according to project timeline submitted
      • This check-in may be done via phone, Skype or in person if possible and will be scheduled with United Way British Columbia staff upon funding distribution
    • Final summary report: To include impact and outputs submitted at the end of your project/program. The requirement of this reporting will be shared by United Way British Columbia staff and support will be provided as needed. 
    • Storytelling and sharing circle.
      • United Way British Columbia is committed to fostering collective community learning through storytelling and sharing circles. Per applicants’ interest United Way British Columbia would like to invite all applicants to a collective circle (online) upon funding completion to share learnings and stories with other organizations across the Province of British Columbia. Details will be discussed with each successful applicant. 

  • All funding recipients must sign a Funding Agreement that includes the following conditions: 

    • Funds will be used for the program/project as approved by United Way British Columbia. 
    • All funds received from United Way British Columbia must be dispersed as specified by the project timeline.
    • Written approval will be required from designated United Way British Columbia staff prior to any funding, operational, and/or timeline changes to the original approved proposal. 
    • Mid-Term check-in/Final Report will be completed (templates will be provided). 
    • United Way British Columbia’s support will be acknowledged in all communication and promotional materials pertaining to this program/project (guidelines to be provided).

    • Community food-based organizations:  
        • Organizations or groups providing direct food access services or programs serving residents and/or; 
        • Organizations or groups focused on procurement, storage, and distribution of fresh, traditional, and other foods to enhance community well-being 
    • Rural, Remote Communities:
      • Could be defined by a community’s distance to a larger urban center, population and/or population density.
      • marked by the need for third parties to reach larger centers and limited year-round road access or the lack of infrastructure such as access to the grocery store, markets, or other sources of food. 
      • Seasonal or year-round shortages of food supporting well-being of communities.